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Our Historically Challenged President. A list of distortions [Victor Davis Hanson]
NRO ^ | June 11, 2009 | Victor Davis Hanson

Posted on 06/11/2009 4:49:30 AM PDT by Tolik

Eloquence and good intentions exempt no one from the truth of the past — President Obama included

In his speech last week in Cairo, President Obama proclaimed he was a “student of history.” But despite Barack Obama’s image as an Ivy League-educated intellectual, he lacks historical competency, in areas of both facts and interpretation.

This first became apparent during the presidential campaign. Candidate Obama proclaimed then that during World War II his great-uncle had helped liberate Auschwitz, and that his grandfather knew fellow American troops that had entered Auschwitz and Treblinka.

Both are impossible. The Americans didn’t free either Nazi death camp. (Regarding Obama’s great uncle’s war experience, the Obama team later said he’d meant the camp at Buchenwald.)

Much of what Obama said to thousands of Germans during his Victory Column speech in Berlin last summer was also ahistorical. He began, “I know that I don’t look like the Americans who’ve previously spoken in this great city.” He apparently forgot that for the prior eight years, the official faces of American foreign policy in Germany were Secretaries of State Colin Powell and Condoleezza Rice — both African-Americans.

In the same speech, Obama seemed to suggest that the world had come to together to save Berlin during the Airlift. In fact, it was almost an entirely American and British effort — written off by most observers as hopeless and joined by a handful of Western allies only when the lift looked like it might succeed.

In the recent Cairo speech, Obama’s historical allusions were even more suspect. Almost every one of his references was either misleading or incomplete. He suggested that today’s Middle East tension was fed by the legacy of European colonialism and the Cold War that had reduced nations to proxies.

But the great colonizers of the Middle East were the Ottoman Muslims, who for centuries ruled with an iron fist. The 20th-century movements of Baathism, Pan-Arabism, and Nasserism — largely homegrown totalitarian ideologies — did far more damage over the last half-century to the Middle East than did the legacy of European colonialism.

Obama also claimed that “Islam . . . carried the light of learning through so many centuries, paving the way for Europe
s Renaissance and Enlightenment.” While medieval Islamic culture was impressive and ensured the survival of a few classical texts — often through the agency of Arabic-speaking Christians — it had little to do with the European rediscovery of classical Greek and Latin values. Europeans, Chinese, and Hindus, not Muslims, invented most of the breakthroughs Obama credited to Islamic innovation.

Much of the Renaissance, in fact, was more predicated on the centuries-long flight of Greek-speaking Byzantine scholars from Constantinople to Western Europe to escape the aggression of Islamic Turks. Many romantic thinkers of the Enlightenment sought to extend freedom to oppressed subjects of Muslim fundamentalist rule in eastern and southern Europe.

Obama also insisted that “Islam has a proud tradition of tolerance. We see it in the history of Andalusia and Cordoba during the Inquisition.” Yet the Spanish Inquisition began in 1478; by then Cordoba had long been re-conquered by Spanish Christians, and was governed as a staunchly Christian city.

In reference to Iraq, President Obama promised that “no system of government can or should be imposed upon one nation by any other.” Is he unaware that the United States imposed democracies after World War II?

After the defeat of German Nazism, Italian fascism, and Japanese militarism, Americans — by force — insisted that these nations adopt democratic governments, for both their own sakes and the world’s. Indeed, it is hard to think of too many democratic governments that did not emerge from violence — including our own.

Obama also stated: “For centuries, black people in America suffered the lash of the whip as slaves and the humiliation of segregation. But it was not violence that won full and equal rights.”

With all due respect to our president, this assertion is again not fully accurate. The only thing that ended slavery in the United States was the Civil War, which saw some 600,000 Americans — the vast majority of them white — lost in a violent struggle to ensure that nearly half the country would not remain a slave-owning society. Also, the massive urban riots of the 1960s and 1970s were certainly violent.

This list of distortions could be easily expanded. President Obama, in elegant fashion, may casually invoke the means of politically correct history for the higher ends of contemporary reconciliation. But it is a bad habit. Eloquence and good intentions exempt no one from the truth of the past — President Obama included.


TOPICS: Culture/Society; Editorial; Foreign Affairs; Politics/Elections
KEYWORDS: history; obama; obamalies; vdh; victordavishanson; worldwar2

1 posted on 06/11/2009 4:49:30 AM PDT by Tolik
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http://www.freerepublic.com/tag/victordavishanson/index:
It's Better When You Wake Up Body-Snatched . . .
The Reckoning. Obama Versus the Way of the Universe
The Age of Middle East Atonement. Therapeutic efforts to disguise the truth never really work
Is It Going to Be Race and Resentment — All the Time?
Multiculturalism Trumps Freedom?
America’s First Postmodern President, Supreme Court Justice, Treasury Secretary…
Sotomayor’s Mistake. The diversity mess
The Affirmative-Action Aristocracy?
Lost in the Labyrinth of Race
Israel’s Cuban Missile Crisis - All the Time ... if Iran gets the bomb
Ministers of Truth
Euroamericans?
Is America Premodern or Postmodern?
And Then There Was Only Guantánamo
President Palin’s First 100 Days. Imagine if Sarah Palin had Obama’s record
Cracks in the Facade. Fissures in the Obama Totem
Once Upon a Time in 2002
Why Did Republicans Lose Their Appeal? And how can they get it back?
Americans Want It Both Ways Our Have-It-Both-Ways Generation
What to Do About Pakistan = There are no good answers.
Our Jekyll and Hyde President. More radical than Jimmy Carter v smoother centrist than Bill Clinton?
Nothing New Under the Sun [Equality of Result, American vs. French, etc]
Crazy Times — Crazier Times to Follow - when nonsense is passed off as wisdom
Confessions of a Contrarian [deconstructing Obama, the Left and more]
 President Obama’s First 70 Days. It really does all make sense
Thoughts About Depressed Americans
Bush Did It. What a difference an election makes [Brilliant Parody]
 Our Battered American [gets angrier - Must Read Rant]
Just a partial list. More at the link:  http://www.freerepublic.com/tag/victordavishanson/index
2 posted on 06/11/2009 4:50:12 AM PDT by Tolik
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To: neverdem; Lando Lincoln; SJackson; dennisw; kellynla; monkeyshine; Alouette; nopardons; ...


    Victor Davis Hanson Ping ! 

       Let me know if you want in or out.

Links:    FR Index of his articles:  http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/keyword?k=victordavishanson
                His website: http://victorhanson.com/
                NRO archive: http://www.nationalreview.com/hanson/hanson-archive.asp
                Pajamasmedia:
   http://victordavishanson.pajamasmedia.com/

3 posted on 06/11/2009 4:50:55 AM PDT by Tolik
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To: Tolik

Details, details, pesky little details...


4 posted on 06/11/2009 4:51:17 AM PDT by WVKayaker ( God said, 'Cancel Program GENESIS.' The universe ceased to exist.- Arth. C. Clarke's shortest story)
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To: CaptainAmiigaf

interesting ping


5 posted on 06/11/2009 4:53:14 AM PDT by Mrs. B.S. Roberts
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To: Tolik

Victor has been on fire lately.


6 posted on 06/11/2009 4:54:34 AM PDT by Scotswife
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To: WVKayaker

As Pat Moynihan so correctly said, “Everyone is entitled to his own opinion, but not to his own facts.”


7 posted on 06/11/2009 4:55:57 AM PDT by xkaydet65
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Comment #8 Removed by Moderator

To: xkaydet65

Very true.
Worth repeating twice
:^)


9 posted on 06/11/2009 5:01:24 AM PDT by Tolik
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To: Tolik

Sorry bout that!! Too early!!


10 posted on 06/11/2009 5:02:22 AM PDT by xkaydet65
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To: Tolik

What do you think the response of the mainstream media would have been if Bush had made these errors?


11 posted on 06/11/2009 5:04:15 AM PDT by wintertime
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To: Tolik

Arguably, the United States BECAME the United States on July 4th, 1776. Equally arguably, slavery was ended in the US by the Emancipation Proclamation signed by President Abe Lincoln (R - Illinois) on Sept 22, 1862

A span of 86 years, 2 months, 18 days

Prior to that date, slaves suffered under BRITISH / FRENCH / SPANISH rule. Remember this when people start talking about long periods of American slavery.


12 posted on 06/11/2009 5:04:25 AM PDT by taxcontrol
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To: xkaydet65

It’s quite alright - I am not a posting police. Just could not resist a joke, sorry.


13 posted on 06/11/2009 5:13:45 AM PDT by Tolik
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To: Tolik
Why is Victor Hanson worried about facts? Doesn't he remember Hussein campaigned in all 57 states? He also sat in the Rev. Wrights God D*** America for 20+ years, but never heard a sermon. Why do facts matter? < /SARC>
14 posted on 06/11/2009 5:17:45 AM PDT by Arrowhead1952 (Jimmy Carter - now the second worst POTUS ever. BHO has #1 spot in his sights.)
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To: Tolik

It’s not Zero’s fault. He’s just reading what someone puts on the teleprompter.


15 posted on 06/11/2009 5:19:18 AM PDT by Sig Sauer P220 (The great object is that every man be armed. - Patrick Henry)
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To: Tolik; xkaydet65
In order to keep things cleaner, I simply hit the complaint button and typed duplicate post. AM does the rest, and makes things more easily read.

In the meantime, have I introduced to my favorite Presidential candidate for 2012? She's a winner. She is the anti-Obama.

Meet Sarah Palin and donate to her election fund. Simply click on the pic to go there!


16 posted on 06/11/2009 5:19:26 AM PDT by WVKayaker ( God said, 'Cancel Program GENESIS.' The universe ceased to exist.- Arth. C. Clarke's shortest story)
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To: Arrowhead1952

I guarantee you that ‘bammy’s minions would be more inclined to dismiss reality in favor of ‘bammy’s assertions about history, just as a matter of “principle”.


17 posted on 06/11/2009 5:20:19 AM PDT by MrB (Go Galt now, save Bowman for later)
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To: Arrowhead1952
He also sat in the Rev. Wrights God D*** America for 20+ years, but never heard a sermon.

See, I could actually believe that one - my dad's been sleeping through sermons for longer than that.

18 posted on 06/11/2009 5:23:24 AM PDT by nina0113
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To: Tolik

Communists always distort history to fit their dogma. Look at Stalin cutting officials out of pictures to fit his politics.

Pray for America


19 posted on 06/11/2009 5:28:09 AM PDT by bray (Time to Stand Up)
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To: MrB
Strange as it seems, no amount of learning can cure stupidity, and higher education positively fortifies it.

Stephen Vizinczey

20 posted on 06/11/2009 5:28:35 AM PDT by Recon Dad (Cogito cogito ergo cogito sum - MARSOC DAD)
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To: bray

Yes, that were the times of unpredictable past.

Welcome to surrealism.


21 posted on 06/11/2009 5:30:30 AM PDT by Tolik
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To: MrB

I know, and Hussein could say the sky is yellow, purple or any color other than blue and 99% of the sheeple would believe him. I cannot believe the SRM is so negligent in their reporting.


22 posted on 06/11/2009 5:38:52 AM PDT by Arrowhead1952 (Jimmy Carter - now the second worst POTUS ever. BHO has #1 spot in his sights.)
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To: Tolik
On of the worst statements by Obamarx was his deliberately incomplete discussion of Thomas Jefferson's Koran.

He said:

And when the first Muslim-American was recently elected to Congress, he took the oath to defend our Constitution using the same Holy Koran that one of our Founding Fathers – Thomas Jefferson – kept in his personal library.

The question is why did he have one? Was it because he was respectful of Islam? No. He wanted to understand the basis of the barbarism of the pirates off the coast of Africa destroying American ships and enslaving their passengers. Obamarx's comment were dangerously incomplete.

Here is a little more detail: Link

23 posted on 06/11/2009 5:39:25 AM PDT by Wyatt's Torch (I can explain it to you. I can't understand it for you.)
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To: nina0113
my dad's been sleeping through sermons for longer than that.


Statue of Rip Van Winkle, Irvington, NY

24 posted on 06/11/2009 5:41:35 AM PDT by Arrowhead1952 (Jimmy Carter - now the second worst POTUS ever. BHO has #1 spot in his sights.)
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To: Tolik
O'Brien was looking down at him speculatively. More than ever he had the air of a teacher taking pains with a wayward but promising child.

'There is a Party slogan dealing with the control of the past,' he said. 'Repeat it, if you please.'

'"Who controls the past controls the future: who controls the present controls the past,"' repeated Winston obediently.

1984, George Orwell, Chapter 3

25 posted on 06/11/2009 5:42:41 AM PDT by ProtectOurFreedom
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To: Tolik
I suspect Obama was just as casual and breezy in the approach he took to his professional and political ‘development’ as he was in his approach to ‘education’.

Flakes like him (and make no mistake - this clown is the king of the flakes) always gloss over the details. In fact, they hardly recognize that details exist much less important ones. I work with people like this. Someone tried to present a resume here for a position we had...a very important position, actually. This individual lied from beginning to end on everything in their resume. As if, no one would check. The individual ALMOST got hired till someone in HR (a person NOT razzle dazzled by the applicant) did their job and blew the whistle.

Unfortunately, no one looked very closely at Obama’s resume.

26 posted on 06/11/2009 5:46:42 AM PDT by SMARTY ("Stay together, pay the soldiers and forget everything else" Lucius Septimus Severus)
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To: Tolik
In his speech last week in Cairo, President Obama proclaimed he was a “student of history.”

Then, he better go back to school, because he hasn't learned anything!!!

27 posted on 06/11/2009 5:54:17 AM PDT by DustyMoment (FloriDUH - proud inventors of pregnant/hanging chads and judicide!!)
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To: Tolik

medieval Islamic culture was impressive

Islam stole much of it’s “culture” from the Sassanid Empire of Persia( Zoroastrians).

Arabs wandered out of the desert creating nothing but the Islam religion, forced their conquered to convert while claiming the vanquished Architecture, Arts and other sciences as their own.


28 posted on 06/11/2009 6:03:07 AM PDT by Le Chien Rouge
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To: Tolik

Liberals never let the facts get in the way of THEIR Truth...


29 posted on 06/11/2009 6:03:21 AM PDT by Former Dodger ( "Insanity: Doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results." --Einstein)
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To: All
cross-referencing articles on Obama's *mistakes* regarding Islam and history:

Obama’s Fantasy Islam
National Review Online ^ | June 11, 2009 | Alex Alexiev


30 posted on 06/11/2009 6:08:34 AM PDT by Tolik
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To: taxcontrol

It would also help if folks realized that no organization did more to end slavery than the Royal Navy. It was whites who stopped arabs from enslaving blacks.


31 posted on 06/11/2009 6:27:23 AM PDT by Mr Rogers (I loathe the ground he slithers on!)
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To: Tolik
Sociopaths don't care about facts. All they care about is manipulating their victims by whatever words and means are necessary.
32 posted on 06/11/2009 6:27:23 AM PDT by Gritty (Obama has no appreciation of American culture, history, tradition, common law, literature-Wes Pruden)
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To: taxcontrol

Slavery was ended by Constitutional Amendment at the end of the Civil War. The Emancipation Proclamation only freed slaves in those areas in rebellion against the United States. Slavery was legal in states that remained loyal to the Union, e.g Maryland, Kentucky.


33 posted on 06/11/2009 6:27:43 AM PDT by PzLdr ("The Emperor is not as forgiving as I am" - Darth Vader)
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To: Tolik
In his speech last week in Cairo, President Obama proclaimed he was a “student of history.” But despite Barack Obama’s image as an Ivy League-educated intellectual, he lacks historical competency, in areas of both facts and interpretation.

Barry is a “student of history” like I'm a Thoracic Surgeon. I'd lay odds he doesn't even know what happened in 1066 (and something pretty Historic happened then).

And as to him being an 'intellectual' .. ... our 2yo Labrador Retriever has more intellect. The Kenyan is so dumb that if his Teleprompter read: "Mommy, I have to go make poopy now". He'd repeat it!

Einstein must of had Obama in mind when he came up with the quote I use for my Tagline!

34 posted on 06/11/2009 7:10:03 AM PDT by Condor51 (The difference between stupidity and genius is that genius has its limits)
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To: Tolik
"Much of the Renaissance, in fact, was more predicated on the centuries-long flight of Greek-speaking Byzantine scholars..."

A classical legacy many of the Obama supporters now reject in liberal universities as "Dead White Western males" and Eurocentrism. Ironic? The One seems an unlikely advocate of classical φρόνησις or The Nicomachean Ethics.


35 posted on 06/11/2009 7:14:23 AM PDT by HowlinglyMind-BendingAbsurdity
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To: Recon Dad

For sure! I’m going to college and some of those people defy belief. BTW, the most radical teachers and students that I’ve found are in the English Dept. After VA Tech shooting, they went around joking about people going “English” instead of “postal.” At least one of those was a professor.


36 posted on 06/11/2009 7:23:29 AM PDT by Freedom Dignity n Honor (There are permanent moral truths.)
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To: All
cross-referencing:

Truth-telling [David Warren dissects Obama's approach to truth in the Cairo and D-Day speeches]
davidwarrenonline.com ^ | June 10, 2009 | David Warren

37 posted on 06/11/2009 7:32:56 AM PDT by Tolik
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To: Recon Dad
I thought about this this morning on my way to the coffee pot.
Ignorance and stupidity are not the same. 0 is manifestly ignorant. He is clearly not stupid.
For those who do not adhere to a single reality, however, their is no ignorance, only unenlightened opinion.
Facts, for neo intellectuals are malleable. Historical reality is always a matter of interpretation.
Central to all this truth and reality is, of course, the existence of God. If one denies God there is no adherence to metaphysical reality, only political reality.
In the current intellectual climate the Left and the Right - for lack of better terms - are talking past each other. For each, the other is wrong. For the Left, wrong is bad ideology. For the Right, wrong is denial of truth.
The Left is not restricted by universal principles and is therefor able to act without regard for ethical considerations outside its closed ideology.
The Right is restricted by notions of fairness, means, and values that govern personal interest.
The winner of this struggle will be the Right if the universe is based on immutable principle.
The Left will be victorious if they are correct and the universe is merely subjective experience.
Rightists choose to live in a universe of absolute values. Leftists choose to live in a world where their personal desires are their categorical imperative.
Victory can only be won by the Right through the individual salvation of souls. Victory for the Left is simply a matter of adequate political suppression.
Then I got my coffee and it went right out of my head.
38 posted on 06/11/2009 7:44:34 AM PDT by Louis Foxwell (0 is the son of soulless slavers, not the son of soulful slaves.)
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To: Scotswife

He sure has been on fire...his commentaries are sharp and right on the money, and directed squarely at Zero.


39 posted on 06/11/2009 7:56:56 AM PDT by fleagle ( An appeaser is one who feeds a crocodile, hoping it will eat him last. -Winston Churchill)
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To: Tolik
VDH is appalled by Obama’s use of “history”, but the age old adage that who ever win writes history is more true than ever. When most people on the streets think that WWII started in 1918 and ended in 1960 Obama is doing them something of a favour: revealing some historical facts to the masses who rather know and can recite the history of American Idol contestants effortlessly. This is Obama’s turf audience, the young rap/bad ass base that helped elect him. Joe Biden tells them about television in the 1930s and everybody thinks they are now brilliant historians. You have to love them....
40 posted on 06/11/2009 8:03:02 AM PDT by Blind Eye Jones
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To: Amos the Prophet
In short one side sees things in black and white the other can't because it scares them to face eternity.

Thank you for the enlightening and erudite response.

41 posted on 06/11/2009 8:55:32 AM PDT by Recon Dad (Cogito cogito ergo cogito sum - MARSOC DAD)
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To: Tolik
I am glad to see this article...would the MSM, pundits and left ever let up had President Bush been so historically challenged?

I do have to take VDH to task though....technically "Civil War" is a misnomer...probably started by some newspaper describing what the editor thought was happening. The South didn't want to "take over" the North, they simply wanted fair taxes or they would secede from the Union. It was a War of Tariffs or a War Between The States or the War of Northern Aggression. Take your pick, but a Civil War it was not.

42 posted on 06/11/2009 9:21:06 AM PDT by yoe
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To: Recon Dad

This is a call to pay his history teachers more money. They apparently didn’t have enough to teach him real history.


43 posted on 06/11/2009 12:46:26 PM PDT by dcf
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To: yoe
"technically "Civil War" is a misnomer...probably started by some newspaper describing what the editor thought was happening. The South didn't want to "take over" the North, they simply wanted fair taxes or they would secede from the Union. It was a War of Tariffs or a War Between The States or the War of Northern Aggression. Take your pick, but a Civil War it was not."

Sorry pal, but you are obviously deeply confused by somebody's lunatic propaganda.

Here is an entirely reasonable definition of "civil war." Note there is no sense in which the War of Southern Rebellion does NOT fit the definition.

"A civil war is a war between organized groups to take control of a nation or region, or to change government policies.[1] It is high-intensity conflict, often involving regular armed forces, that is sustained, organized and large-scale. Civil wars result in large numbers of casualties and the expenditure of large amounts of resource. A civil war involves two-sided violence; for example, a massacre of civilians by the state is not a civil war. Similarly, less intense forms of societal conflict, such as riots or social movements, are excluded from the definition.[2]"

44 posted on 06/14/2009 1:48:50 PM PDT by BroJoeK (a little historical perspective...)
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